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Posts Tagged ‘The Magic Surrealists of Oaxaca’

Oaxaca is mourning the loss of painter, Juan Alcázar Méndez, who succumbed to complications related to diabetes yesterday.

Juan Alcázar Méndez.  Photo from Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes

Juan Alcázar Méndez. Photo from Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes

Alcázar was born in Guadalupe Etla, Oaxaca in 1955 and entered the School of Fine Arts at the University Benito Juarez of Oaxaca at the age of 13.   He became known for his unique magic realism style.

Painting from fundraising auction by the Oaxaca Lending Library, 2010.

Painting from fundraising auction by the Oaxaca Lending Library, 2010

He was the founder of the Taller Rufino Tamayo, el Taller de Gráfica en la Casa de la Cultura, and the Taller Libre de Gráfica Oaxaqueña.  He was also one of the artists exhibited in the at the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco in 2012.

"El Rapto" at the The Magic Surrealists of Oaxaca exhibition 2012, San Francisco, CA.

“El Rapto” from the The Magic Surrealists of Oaxaca exhibition 2012, San Francisco, CA.

RIP, Juan Alcázar Méndez.  You will be missed but your magic will live on.

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As hoped, I managed to make my way to the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco for .  It’s the exhibit (I mentioned a few days ago) that celebrates the Zapotec artists of Oaxaca from Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo to those they encouraged and influenced.

On the consulate’s ground floor the scene was a familiar one — signage and conversations en español; the eagle, serpent and green, white, and red of the Mexican flag prominently displayed; waiting room filled with patiently waiting people — a sliver of Mexico in San Francisco.  Climbing the two flights of stairs (elevator was broken) up to the third floor, a friend and I found the exhibit…

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According to the article, Oaxacan surrealism hits the SF Mexican consulate, the consulate’s cultural affairs attache, Marimar Suárez Peñalva, hopes the gallery and its exhibitions will offer Mexican expats an opportunity to connect with the creativity, not just the bureaucracy (my word), of their culture.  However, I don’t know how many of those waiting on the first floor make it up to the third floor; early in the afternoon, we had the gallery to ourselves.

And yes, works by Tamayo and Toledo are included, but I thought I’d feature some of the lesser known artists.  By the way, did you notice the name, Alejandro Santiago Ramírez?  This is the same Alejandro Santiago of the 2501 Migrantes sculptures that I’ve previously written about.

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I’m again in the San Francisco Bay Area, visiting family and friends and taking care of the odds and ends of still maintaining a presence here, while living in Oaxaca.  We’ve had clear blue skies and sun and, except for the high-speed pace and exorbitant price of food, it “almost” feels like home.  Hey, I even bought some resin chairs for my son’s backyard and ate some of the best Mexican food ever (in the USA) at Doña Tomás in Oakland.  (FYI:  The Callos con Sopa de Elote — puréed corn soup with seared day boat scallops and fingerling potatoes, roasted poblano chiles and cilantro, served with arroz achiote — was divine.)

To also keep from getting too homesick for Oaxaca, there are a currently a couple of exhibits in San Francisco I plan to see while here.  I found out about The Magic Surrealists of Oaxaca, Mexico from the Oaxacan surrealism hits the SF Mexican consulate article in the SFBG, which explains…

Aquatint etching

Francisco Toledo’s aquatint etching “Self Portrait”

The Zapotec identity … is one of the unifiers of the exhibit, which contains the works of not only [Rufino] Tamayo and [Francisco] Toledo but also artists who were inspired by their work like Justina Fuentes Zárate, she of the reclining mermaid and arresting red dress. Perhaps the works don’t look similar, but they represent the diversity and breadth of the work to come out of the surrealist Zapotec tradition in Oaxaca.

And, then I read the NPR story, In Mexico, Mixed Genders And ‘Muxes’, about a Galería de la Raza exhibit.

Parade of Muxes in traje of Juchitán

Photo from the exhibit

Searching for Queertopia revisits the experiences of Alexander Hernandez’s participation and Neil Rivas’ visual documentation of what is called, the Vela de ‘Las Intrépidas.’ This event, a 3-day celebration, is held annually in the town of Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, México, in honor of its Muxe community.

Hmmm… maybe I’ll take the ferry over to “The City” tomorrow.

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